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UPDATE – Alleged Drunk Driver Appears in Court – Victims Identified as Missoula Sisters [DOCUMENT]

Alleged drunk driver appears in court
photo by Peter Christian

Tom George Vineyard, 38, made an appearance via video in Missoula Justice Court from the Missoula County Jail on Thursday afternoon before Judge Karen Orzech.According to court documents, Vineyard caused the death of Roberta Emmert and seriously injured her sister, Pamela Demmert, while allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol.

In the affidavit filed by Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks, at about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 16, a resident in the 600 block of North 5th Street West called 9-1-1 to report a crash.

“Shannen Cavalier told officers he heard the crash and looked outside to see a pickup truck on its side in his front yard and two women lying on the sidewalk,” the document reads. “Officers arrived and found Roberta and Pamela Demmert lying on the sidewalk. Roberta was unresponsive, but Pamela was conscious and able to speak. She told officers that she and Roberta were walking to get cigarettes. Both women were transported to the hospital, where Roberta was pronounced dead. Pamela was hospitalized with serious injuries, including a broken leg.”

The court document said Tom Vineyard was located in the cab of the Ford Ranger pickup.

“Vineyard admitted he was the driver, and stated he had been drinking downtown and was driving home. He stated that he had consumed two pitchers of beer while downtown,” the document said. “Vineyard repeatedly asked officers to arrest him and stated that he was at fault and wanted to take responsibility for his actions. Vineyard provided a breath sample that registered a .239 Blood Alcohol Content.”

Tom Vineyard Charging Documents

Vineyard was charged with negligent vehicular homicide while under the Influence and negligent vehicular assault, both felonies. The homicide charge carries a possible penalty of up to 30 years in prison and or a $50,000 fine, while the assault charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, and/or a $10,000 fine.

At the justice court appearance, Judge Orzech remanded Vineyard to the county jail with bail set at $200,000. His next court appearance will be May 30.




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